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We review the BMC Timemachine TMR01 Ultegra Di2 aero road bike

BMC-TMR01-Ultegra-DI2-Super-BikeBMC Timemachine TMR01 Ultegra Di2
£6,000
evanscycles.com

BMC’s brutal looking and brutally fast Timemachine TM01 aero bike was a big hit with our testers last year and it’s obvious that the new Timemachine Road was developed in tandem for maximum aero gain.

FRAME AND FORK

With its angular, raw carbon design there’s a definite futuristic look about the TMR. It’s extremely cleanly routed for Shimano’s Di2 electric shifting system. The cockpit cable pops into an interchangeable electric or conventional cable plate on the rear of the sculpted head tube, while the battery is fixed into the base of the seatpost.

BMC has taken the ultra-aero brakeset off the Timemachine, with a front V-brake embedded seamlessly in the front of the fork and the rear tucked into the underside of the chainstays. The fork also gets an extended shroud up the front of the tapered head tube, which elongates the overall aerofoil design and hides the front brake cable from the wind.

The tapering T-section top tube, down tube and seat tube look surprisingly slab-sided for an aero bike, but BMC has followed others in the use of truncated tail aero sections. These are designed to reduce drag at a wider range of wind angles than a conventional teardrop. BMC has also added Tripwire ledges just behind the leading edge of each tube to disturb the surface airflow, which creates a smoother overall flow.

The SubA aerodynamic treatment also includes a rear wheelhugger, the brake-free, ice-hockey-stick seatstay/seat tube junction and a hidden clamp wedge for the aero seatpost. Despite all the aero attention, frame weight is still bearable and there’s a broad range of sizes available.

THE KIT

With the TMR chassis bundle of frame, seatpost, fork and brakes coming in at £3,200, it’s no surprise that the complete bike isn’t going to win any awards for component value. BMC has made full use of the super-neat hidden battery installation potential in picking the Ultegra version of Shimano’s Di2 electric shifting system. Bigger motors mean it’s not as neat or as light as Dura-Ace Di2 but it’s likely to be a popular halfway-house between the TMR01 DA Di2 and the conventional cable Ultegra version.

Mavic’s super-stiff yet light Cosmic Carbone SL wheels complement the hard-driving ride character but we’re slightly disappointed the budget didn’t stretch to the grey Exalith braking surface of the SLE version. The Easton EA70 cockpit is good solid gear, but it’s adequate rather than impressive.

THE RIDE

This isn’t a bean-counters’ bargain-bike, but every bit as much of a character ride as it looks. While there’s a slight pause as you break the seal on the weight, just turning the cranks is proof of what an incredibly rigid powertrain BMC has built into the TMR. The rigidity means every muscle fibre from your shoulders to the small of your back is able to pitch in without pulling the bike off line or provoking distracting flex somewhere in the system.

Once you’ve got it up to speed, it’s time to tuck down and let the aerodynamics take the strain out of sustained speed. The ability of the Timemachine to keep turning a big gear is remarkable. We were certainly glad of the bigger ratios of the full-sized chainrings to fully showcase its potential for setting extremely fast, full-aero-bike-style times on our regular test loops. While the narrow width bars won’t suit some riders, the ability to alter the seat angle as part of BMC’s Position2Perform design was definitely popular with those used to tri bikes.

The aerodynamics and power delivery don’t have any negative affect on handling either. Despite the narrow bars, short wheelbase and reversed brakes, the truncated aero shapes and precision responsiveness meant we never felt nervous on gusty ridge lines or wet descents. The built-in brakes are powerful and controlled, especially compared to most aero set-ups we’ve used.

The blistering speed and laser guided handling does come at the cost of comfort though. Both the frame and the Mavic wheels are extremely stiff and you need to be careful picking lines and nursing traction on rough roads if you want to avoid a serious rattling.

BMC’s Timemachine Road is one of the fastest and most precise handling aero road bikes we’ve ridden. With an excellent performance and potential positions comparable to full-on triathlon bikes, it’s perfect for powerful triathletes wanting one racing bike for both draft-legal and non-drafting events. It’s not comfortable on back roads though.

BIKE SPEC

  • Frame and fork

Size tested: 54cm
Sizes available: 48, 51, 54, 56, 58, 61cm
Weight as tested: 7.81kg/17.22lbs
Frame weight: 1,165g
Fork weight: 455g
Frame: BMC p2p x subA
Fork: BMC Pure Carbon subA

  • Transmission

Chainset: Shimano Ultegra, 53/39T
Bottom bracket: Shimano Ultegra
Cassette Shimano Ultegra 12-25T
Chain: Shimano Ultegra
Derailleurs: Shimano Ultegra Di2
Shifters: Shimano Ultegra Di2

  • Wheels

Front: Mavic Cosmic Carbone SL
Rear: Mavic Cosmic Carbone SL
Tyres: Continental Force and Attack, 700x24c
Wheel weight: 1.17/1.64kg

  • Other components

Stem: Easton EA70, 110mm
Bars: Easton EA70, 400mm
Headset: BMC
Saddle: Fizik Arione CX Manganese
Seatpost: BMC
Brakes: BMC integrated aero

Pros
+ Cutting edge aerodynamics includes brakes and battery
+ Awesome power delivery and handling

Cons
– Firm ride takes no prisoners
– Low kit levels for the high price